A foot note to last week’s story about Eric Larsen and Ryan Waters becoming the first team to reach the North Pole on foot in more than four years. In the process, Ryan earned himself a unique distinction that is worth mentioning. He has become the first American to complete the “Explorers Grand Slam,” aka the “Adventurers Grand Slam” completely unsupported, a feat that is certainly worth celebrating
In order to complete the Grand Slam, an explorer must summit each of the 7 Summits (tallest mountains on each of the seven continents), and visit both the North and South Pole. Ryan has previously climbed each of the mountains and skied to the South Pole, but he needed an unsupported expedition to the North Pole to fill out his resume. When he and Eric reached that point last week, he became the first American to complete the Grand Slam in unsupported fashion. He is also just the 39th person in the world to ever accomplish the Grand Slam as well.
If you followed Ryan and Eric’s expedition over the past few months, you know the challenges they faced in going to the North Pole. It took them 53 days to travel from Ellesmere Island to 90ºN, with harsh weather, incredibly difficult surface conditions, and massive physical and mental challenges along the way. They boys have since been picked up from the Pole, and have made their way back home for some much deserved rest.
I’ll post an update on news from the Arctic tomorrow, but I thought that this bit of information was worth sharing on its own. Ryan has been undertaking some incredibly tough adventures over the years, and I suspect that this North Pole expedition was the toughest of his career. We’ll have to wait to see where he goes from here, but he has quite the impressive list of accomplishments to his name.